Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Seniors confused over tax dun, lack of refund

County defers requested action

Waco – The old boy's name is Charlie and he's angry. You could fry an egg on the top of his head, the part where the heat waves are rising up into the air.

Looking over the top of his reading glasses, he stares me down for asking his name following an emotional plea to the McLennan County Commissioners Court.

His saga started when his mother and father-in-law, John and Shirley Frields of the 4400 block of Kendall Lane in Waco, asked the McLennan County Appraisal District and Tax Assessor-Collector Buddy Skeen to consolidate two contiguous parcels they own and grant them a homestead exemption for their advanced age over 65.

From there, the events spiraled out of control when a file clerk mislaid the application, and...

Best to let Charlie, whose name is Charles Burch, according to public records of the transaction, tell the story in his own way.

No one will admit they made a made mistake,” he told Commissioners, and The Legendary believes him, looking at the record.

Here are the bare bones facts, confusing though they may be.

The collector assessed interest and penalties in each of the taxing entities after they had paid their taxes for 2010 and 2011. They sent in a check for $2,193.64 on January 31. On January 20, they made their application to change their homestead exemption status and merge the two parcels, but they were billed the above figure.

On April 16, they got a letter from attorneys who handle these matters demanding $893.85 for the year 2010.


Our intention was to pay the taes before any penalty which is why we paid the amount due before th echanges 1/31/12. We were expeting to only receive the net amount due after he changes had been made.”

Then they met with Buddy Skeen, who is under a list of indictments as long as your arm for various allegedly crooked dealings regarding sales taxes on vehicles misapplied from others owned by the county and – well – that's that another story, isn't it.

We do understand your frustration with the system but, the Tax Assessor/Collector does not have he ability to forgive penalty and interest.”

Each entity must give the green light to something like that.

County Judge Jim Lewis told Charlie that his in-laws are eligible to receive only something like $90 in forgiven interest and penalties from McLennan County. In any case, the Court ran backwards from giving their approval after Charlie ran into Precinct 1 Kelly Snell in the rotunda. Mr. Snell is Charlie's Commissioner while his in-laws live in Joe Mashek's Precinct 3.

Listen to Charlie's side of the story:(click here for another minority report)

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